Adam Lallana was irritated by the criticism aimed at him following Saints’ complaint against referee Mark Clattenburg, according to goalkeeper Kelvin Davis.
The club’s complaint about Clattenburg’s alleged remarks during the Premier League defeat by Everton on December 29 was thrown out by the FA and the referees’ governing body. The official was accused of telling Lallana: “You are very different now, since you’ve played for England – you never used to be like this.”
Despite the club rather than the player raising the matter, Lallana has been widely ridiculed, something that initially upset him.
However, club captain Davis has been impressed by his response, highlighting his decisive strike in last weekend’s 4-3 FA Cup defeat of Burnley as a sign of his resilience.
“I think for the first day he was a bit like ‘why is everyone coming for me?’,” he said.
“He made a remark after the game, conversations happen and the end result was the end result.
“But anyone that knows Adam knows that first of all he is a good pro, a good lad, a good person. “After the first day or two he realised that himself, that he hadn’t done anything wrong, he shouldn’t be feeling anything negative about himself and then he scored against Burnley. “That kind of epitomises where he is mentally.”
Davis hopes everyone can “move on” from the Clattenburg debate, allowing Lallana’s talent to be focused upon.
A place in England’s World Cup squad is looking increasingly likely for the Saints academy graduate as his rise from League One to be one of the country’s best continues apace.
“As he gets older, he has got that bit of belief that what he was doing in the Championship he can step up and do at a higher level,” Davis said.
“When he first had the Southampton armband, you could see it kind of held him back a little bit. But now the way he has matured, he doesn’t find that a weight now. Again, that comes down to belief.
“The manager coming in at the time he did and working closely with him has helped.
“The way he has been treated from the very top of the club with his new contract has helped the way he has developed, with the England call-up probably that final turning point in his head.
“He has a real opportunity to really become a very good player at this level.”